U19 Public Catholic vs U19 Mass South: 1:10pm
Salem, NH – Today at the Icenter it was the kickoff of the NEFPHL season, which signals that the New England prep and high school seasons are soon to follow. In the first game of the day we saw two U19 teams face off but both teams were missing a selection of players: largely due to injury/illness and many of the schools that the players attend having just started up and academics taking a front-row seat to fall hockey.
With that in mind, the action started with a feeling out process and both teams were reticent to make any big mistakes early. That gave way to more aggressive hockey and we saw our first goal four minutes in when Arlington HS junior Leo Piandes fed Danvers HS junior Calvin Mansfield a nice cross-crease feed that he tapped home to make it a 1-0 lead for Public/Catholic. That was how the scoring stayed through the end of the first half (both games today were two 26-minute halves) until six minutes had gone in the second half following a net-front scrum for the puck which led to Piandes shoveling the puck into the feet of Winchester HS junior Colin Van Stry who knocked it home to make it 2-0 Public/Catholic.
Truth be told, the entirety of the game was dominated by Public/Catholic as the final scoreboard showed that they put 40+ shots on goal against a Mass South team that was missing 10 players. Regardless, six minutes later Public/Catholic applied more pressure and set up a picture-perfect breakout started by Andover HS junior defenseman Tommy Tavenner who fed the puck up to Piandes to dished it off across the crease for Van Stry: his second strike of the game and Piandes’ third assist.
But the bleeding finally stopped six minutes later when Nobles senior defender John DiNovi (Wellesley, MA) put a shot on net which senior Pingree forward Paul Duffy (Marblehead, MA) was able to tip home at the net mouth to cut the lead to 3-1. The score stayed that way until the game was nearly over and Mass South had pulled their goalie. That led to Woburn HS junior Jonathan Surrette scoring an empty netter to seal the game: a final score of 4-1 for U19 Public Catholic
1. F Colin Van Stry, Winchester HS
2. F Leo Piandes, Arlington HS
3. D Tommy Tavenner, Andover HS
For a game that included a number of players who were just getting re-acquainted with the ice, the quality of hockey was pretty good. There was certainly a share of missed passes and wide shots to be sure, but otherwise there was some athleticism on display. In particular, putting aside the obvious great games for our three stars, we also like the defensive efforts of Hebron junior Simon Charles Laferriere (Blainville, QC) who was strong on the control and controlled it well on both sides of the red line for U19 P/C.
For U19 Mass South we thought the Pingree players put forth the strongest efforts. Namely, senior forward Brendan Driscoll (Middleton, MA) and junior forward Hazen Pike (Haverhill, MA) both of them were wreaking havoc and playing at a pace most of these other players may reach in future weeks, but they came to compete which is great to see this early. We also thought Proctor senior goalie Cole Chingris (Andover, MA) made some terrific glove saves by keeping his glove up high while also denying shots down low – going full splitsville on one particular play. The final score of this game could have easily been 8-1 had he not been on his game today.
U19 Southern New England vs U19 Mass West 2:50pm
Salem, NH – Just after the Zamboni had made an ice cut following 52 minutes of U19 hockey, our second game of the day got underway when Southern New England and Mass West locked horns in the Icenter’s NHL rink. The box score and story behind this game was pretty much as cut and dry as it gets. Both teams were doing a nice job defensively of not letting the opposition get behind them while other times shots were missing the mark of players were getting overanxious and overskating the puck.
The scoring began nine minutes in when Exeter post-grad defender Luke Mix (Winchester, MA) took a heavy shot from the left point and snuck it through the wickets of Tilton’s junior goalie Joe Raspante (East Sandwich, MA) to make it 1-0 Southern New England. After a lot of battling back and forth that was how the first half ended and on we went to the second half where both teams shocked active sticks to break up offensive set plays and that also allowed the refs to swallow the whistles for long stretches and the game simply flew by.
Twelve minutes into the second half, however, Southern New England doubled it’s lead when big body senior North Yarmouth Academy forward Jared Buckner (Topsham, ME) took a shot from the point that deflected off a defender and caromed right to the waiting stick of prep teammate Clement Delisle-Blais (Boucherville, QC) who knocked it home to make it 2-0 – which ended up being our final score.
1. F Charlie McGurrin, Exeter
2. D Conor Lally, Tilton
3. F Clement Delisle-Blais, North Yarmouth Academy
This game may not have had as many scoring chances or shots compared to it’s predecessor on the NHL sheet in Salem, but there were some noteworthy performances. Specifically, 2003-born Exeter forward Charlie McGurrin (Marblehead, MA) who played for SNE. He was the most impressive player we saw at the U19 level today. He has a big body for a forward, but he moves well and has great strength on his stick. We saw him win numerous battles and steal pucks that allowed him to break in alone a couple of times. He will be worth a close watch during the prep season. Also for U19 SNE, Delisle-Blais showed that he is ready to take a step forward from last season after we saw him in the Pingree Tournament. He was aggressive and pressured the puck consistently, causing a handful of turnovers.
For U19 Mass West, we thought Tilton junior D Conor Lally (Scarborough, ME) was really consistent all game long. His feet don’t take a shift off and he has great quick escaping his own zone or walking the blue line in the offensive zone. Tilton sophomore goalie Gavin Kiley (Atkinson, NH) only played for a half, but he made some great positional saves moving in all directions. He gets big when you get close to the cage and he is keenly aware of where the shot is coming from.